SNOW PADS USED FOR PIPELINE CONSTRUCTION IN ALASKA, 1976. CONSTRUCTION, USE AND BREAKUP

Construction pads made of snow were used to build two sections of the Trans Alaska Pipeline and a small gas pipeline during the winter of 1975-76. Construction during the winter has become increasingly common in the Arctic. Surface travel and the use of heavy construction equipment on the unprotected tundra have been severely restricted, even during the winter, so the use of temporary winter roads and construction pads built of snow and ice has been advocated and is being adopted. The three snow construction pads mentioned above were the first snow roads and construction pads used on a large scale in Alaska. Snow roads and construction pads have two objectives: to protect the underlying vegetation and upper layers of the ground, and to provide a hard, smooth surface for travel and the operation of equipment. Several types have been built, and a brief discussion is given of their history and classification systems. The three snow construction pads used in construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipelines and the small gas pipeline in 1975-76 were visited and observed while in use. The Globe Creek snow pad, about 50 miles north of Fairbanks, was built primarily of manufactured snow hauled to the site and watered. With very high densities this pad withstood heavy traffic and use by heavy construction equipment except on one steep slope. There, the use of tracked vehicles and vehicles without front wheel drive disaggregated the snow on and near the surface so that vehicles without front wheel drive were unable to climb the hill. The Toolik snow pad, just north of the Brooks Range, was built of compacted snow and proved capable of supporting the heaviest traffic and construction equipment. The fuel gasline snow pad ran from the northern Brooks Range to the Arctic Coast and also proved capable of supporting the necessary traffic. Both the Toolik snow pad and the fuel gasline snow pad failed in very early May because of unseasonably warm and clear weather before the associated construction projects were completed. However, the three snow pads must be considered successful. Common problems were the lack of snow, slopes, unseasonably warm spring weather, and inexperience on the part of contractors and construction personnel. (Author)

Media Info

  • Pagination: 34 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00322677
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Report 80-17
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 15 1981 12:00AM